Sweetcorn Chowder

Posted By Stephen


As a child I used to love the sweetcorn chowder that my mum cooked and when she made it, I usually ate it until I was too full to move. Kerri and I have been in soup-making mode lately and the topic of sweetcorn soup came up, so I was keen to try sweetcorn chowder. Whenever I think of chowder I am reminded of a Simpsons episode (part of the brilliant Season 5) where Mayor Quimby’s son takes exception to the way a French waiter pronounces “chowder” and an argument ensues. Which of course means that I almost always pronounce it in the “French” way now, just to be silly.

I always think of chowder as containing potato, which many of them do but it isn’t mandatory – some are thickened with crushed crackers or biscuits. We stuck with potato though. Traditionally, bacon or pork fat is fried in the pot first in order to release fat to enrich the soup but we fried ours separately and then removed it from the fat and added it in at the end in the name of reducing calories.

My mum did actually write down her recipe for me, but we didn’t follow it very closely on this occasion as we found a Gordon Ramsay recipe that looked interesting, so combined the two and made use of what we had at hand. Gordon Ramsay’s recipe actually included crab which we didn’t have. Just after I had added the ginger and cinnamon, we figured that the reason that they were in there was to go with the crab. Too late by then of course, but they did work well and gave the soup and gentle spicy warmth.

Milk is often used in chowder, but we had some crème fraîche that we needed to use up, so we added that along with some weak chicken stock instead. My mum’s version uses creamed corn, which melts in to the soup and gives everything the flavour of corn, whereas we used fresh corn kernels which had a nice texture to them, but their taste didn’t blend into the rest of the soup. Next time we’ll blend / purée at least half of the corn and leave the rest of it whole as a balance between the two styles. We didn’t have any leeks, but they would have been good in this.

Our recipe:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large potatoes, about 600g, diced
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp dry English mustard
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
700ml chicken stock
250ml crème fraîche
200g sweetcorn kernels
Parsley, chopped
Pancetta or small slices of bacon

Sauté onions for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and celery, stir well and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the potato, celery salt, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, the bay leaf and the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, then pour in the chicken stock and crème fraiche. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

While the liquid is simmering, fry the pancetta and set aside.

Add the sweetcorn and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the corn is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in parsley and serve topped with pancetta.

Oct 7th, 2009

6 Comments to 'Sweetcorn Chowder'

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  1. Sylvie said,

    I love how you just went with what you had on hand. I made corn chowder for the first time a couple of years ago after having some in NYC. Delicious and this version looks like it’s well worth a try.
    .-= Sylvie´s last blog ..Getting stuck in again =-.

  2. Tanya said,

    Looks delicious. We just got sweetcorn in our vegetable box, so I think I’ll be making this! The weather today has definitely made me want comfort food like this.
    .-= Tanya´s last blog ..Drawing Room Tea Cake =-.

  3. Great colours in this dish and I am pleased to see that it does not require a blender (as most soups do) since I don’t have one in London yet am feeling a need for soup with the recent weather
    .-= gourmet chick´s last blog ..Moroccan Chicken Salad =-.

  4. Lizzie said,

    Creamed corn is brilliant; I stock-pile the stuff. I always make egg drop sweetcorn soups in the Chinese style but this looks equally as delicious.
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Onion & Anchovy Pasta =-.

  5. Alex said,

    I’ve never liked the look of sweetcorn soup – but this (with plenty of pancetta on top!) might change my mind!
    .-= Alex´s last blog ..The Soundtrack To My Life =-.

  6. Really enjoying all of these hearty soups… I am really up for making this chowder though. I adore sweetorn but never had this.
    .-= The Graphic Foodie´s last blog ..RECIPE: Italian breaded chicken and the origins of "the parmo" =-.

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